We all know the phrase “Two steps forward one step back” and many us can swear that life really works in this way. We may be better to shift from this linear concept and embrace something more circular.

Life offers the gift of continuous growth, and sometimes it is during those periods when we feel most challenged, most stagnant, most lost, most vulnerable, most hurt, most scared, and most uncertain that we are actually making huge strides in growth.  The irony is that during the worst of it, most of us are tempted to call ourselves a failure, but after the storm has ended, we are finally able to recognize the impressive amounts of growth we experienced by working our way through the painful process. Sometimes what feels like total regression ends up leading to one of the most significant periods of dramatic growth we will ever experience.

Basically, I believe growth on the spiritual path tends to follow a pattern, but it’s a cyclical one rather than a linear one like the cut-and-dry biological stages that a butterfly undergoes. That’s why I suggest that we are more like rain that falls from the skies, filling the ponds, the oceans only to evaporate upward form clouds and rain down again in a beautiful cycle. We too can go through cycles of growth, we can disconnect from the external world and reconnect with our inner wisdom or repair our internal workings, if necessary. Then we emerge once again with a new perspectives, wiser and more aware than the first time. We only need understand and accept the gift of continuous growth.

No matter what stage of growth you are in right now, just remember that life is not a race. Involution, the act of going within to grow spiritually, should remain as much of an important part of your growth as the external changes you make in your life. And though it is tempting to avoid uncertainty and run away from pain, the process of going within often must occur before the external changes we desire can ever be achieved.

To all the caterpillars and butterflies reading this, you are exactly where you need to be right now. No need to rush the process or resist any change coming your way. Try to accept every opportunity for growth because one day you might look back on this particular phase of your life and be immensely grateful for all the challenges and experiences and how they helped you evolve into a much wiser being.

Peace and Love, Jim

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